Mapping Experiences – Book FAQ


Finally! After a long wait and many delays I’m happy to announce my second book has been published: Mapping ExperiencesHere are some common questions I get about the book:

1. Why did you choose a bear for the cover?

As far as I can tell, O’Reilly authors don’t choose their animals outright. They can request them, but are not guaranteed to get what they request. I gave some simple guidelines: a cat, a bear or snake, but no birds. And I got a grizzly bear. (Technically it’s a Syrian brown bear, but I’m going to simplify it to a grizz).

So there is no direct meaning of the bear to the topic of my book. But I could make one up. Or, better yet – send me your thoughts on why a grizzly bear is like mapping experiences.

2. How long did it take you to write it?

It took me 9 months to write the manuscript and get all the images together. It then took about 6 months to get the layout and book production done.

I pushed for a landscape format early in the project. I knew that so many of the examples would be best to fit horizontally across the page. This format brought some complexity, and it we took longer than expected to produce the book. I hope you think it was worth it.

3. Did you create the illustrations and artwork in the book?

No, I didn’t. My dear friend Hennie Farrow kindly volunteered heaps of her valuable time to set up a style for the graphics for the entire book. She also created a diagram in Chapter 6 and reviewed early versions of the layout. Much of the look and feel comes from her. Thanks for that, Hennie!

4. Is there a Kindle version of Mapping Experiences?

Yes, there is. However, as much as I love ebooks (particularly after having moved continents 2 years ago), the print version is MUCH better.

As I mentioned, we spent a great amount of time with the layout, style and artwork. There are also a lot of diagram examples that don’t come across the same on a small mobile device or even on an iPad.

So the print version will give you the best experience for this book.

5. What are those little lightning bolt icons throughout the book?

Those symbols indicate when techniques are mentioned that can accelerate the mapping process. They point to shortcuts for a given activity.

Although I present a general process for mapping experiences, you may move through the different modes of thinking (as I call them) faster or slower. There is really no timeframe for an effort: it can range from hours to weeks or months. I wanted to highlight how you can move rapidly while still covering all the bases.

6. What hashtags are you using for the book?

The hashtag #mappingexperiences is the most descriptive, but long. The tag #cjm works well for “customer journey maps,” but my book goes well beyond that specific type of diagram.

I’ve been trying to establish #xmap too, but that’s not taking off. I’m open to suggestions otherwise.

I also tweet with the hashtags #ux #cx and #xd (for “experience design”). So those will work as well. Depending on the post, you can also use things like #servicedesign #visualizations #diagrams

7. When are you writing another book?

I’ve already started. But the next one will be on jazz bass, a passion of mine.


Let me know if you have more questions about the making of Mapping Experiences, and I’ll try to add them here.


About Jim Kalbach

Head of Customer Experience at MURAL


  1. Congratulations James on publishing this new book. I will get a copy and read it on paper off course!
    To me the grizzly leaves behind significant footprints that people are most probably aware of, even cautious of. The moral is, respect its teritorial superiority, observe it carefully, don’t disturb it and when in doubt of its intentions: Don’t run but stay still and observe even more carefully. I look forward to finding out more about your book and for one appreciate your honesty and story like post about the experience of working with a publisher in creating it. I’m working on a book with my 2 colleagues called ‘handbook EVENT DESIGN that we’ll publish with BIS publishing and launch on 14 September of 2016. I recognize elements in your journey. It takes a village and a truckload of hours to complete a publication, but a worthwile experience it is.

  2. Colleen McCord

    I pre-ordered this book and was so excited when it arrived. It’s already adding value to our work, and answering many questions that our organization is asking our team to address for the enterprise. I also still have my copy of Designing Web Navigation.

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